Just about everyone familiar with the mining and exploration industry is aware that Rare Earth Metals are the focus of increasing exploration effort in many parts of the world today. There have been numerous news stories on Rare Earth Metals (REM) covering issues such as their strategic importance, potential looming shortages, new discoveries, world production dominance by China, increasing prices and so forth. In fact nearly every day we see one or more news articles on the subject.
These minerals and metals are used in many modern devices and appliances. Hybird cars,Smart phones, guided missiles, coloured televisions, ceramics, lasers, superconductors, high-tech magnets, medical diagnostic devices and numerous other applications all contain rare earth elements. The advancement of technologies is fueling the demand for REM and there are indications that it continue to do so for some time into the future.
I think that as prospectors we could be well served if we were to include Rare Earths exploration into our efforts.
A recent news release by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA) sates "The burgeoning global markets and growing high-tech applications for rare earth elements provides Ontario with an opportunity to expand its mining - and manufacturing — sectors" and further on they say "Worldwide demand for these elements is expected to outstrip supply by 40,000 t annually unless new sources are developed, the OMA says. The Ontario Mineral Deposit Inventory documents more than 200 known rare element and rare earth element mineral occurrences across the province".
The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry says rare element and rare earth element minerals are among the non-traditional metals being targeted for exploration in Ontario. Areas with rare earth development potential in the province would include Bancroft, Elliot Lake, Hearst, Kenora, Marathon and Moosonee."
Link To OMA Full Story
Rare Earth Metals notes of interest
A hybrid car contains about 20 kg of rare earth elements. Demand in 2010 was forecast at 150,000 t with longer range projections indicating a demand of 2 Mt for hybrid, electric and hydrogen vehicles by 2025. Future supply problems for these strategic elements are being compounded by China. At the moment, it produces about 95% of global supply and has 37% of proven reserves. China recently announced it is cutting its rare earth exports by 35% in 2011, which follows hot on the heels of export reduction cuts in the second half of 2010.